Remember Derby Bar for later - it’s only a matter of time

The owners assure us the restaurant will reopen as soon as possible.

The fish (Credit: Dvir Kaveh) (photo credit: Courtesy)
The fish (Credit: Dvir Kaveh)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
We visited Derby Bar just before a week’s trip to England – a week that changed the world. Returning to Israel on Sunday, March 8, we were lucky to miss by one day the injunction to self-isolate for two weeks.

In spite of everything that has happened since, the memory of a great meal at Derby Bar lingers. The owners assure me the restaurant will reopen as soon as possible. As I took copious notes and have a photographic memory and strong sense of obligation, here is my review.

First a word about the location. The restaurant is situated in the large entertainment complex on Yigal Alon Street in Tel Aviv. It has a no-frills feel, with butcher-block tables, leather chairs and walls decorated in white brick or shiny wallpaper. The lighting is good, i.e. flatteringly subtle.

We decided to begin our meal with the assortment of salads, a local invention as Israeli and welcome as the Iron Dome anti-missile system. There were salads of varying degrees of spiciness and flavor (NIS 40 but free if you order a main course).

There were several variations on eggplant, a particularly good one being the dish that is sliced fine and fried in fine breadcrumbs. 

Another eggplant dish comprised chunks of aubergine fried in a sweet sauce.

Yet another was the famed aubergine caviar, which was smoky and not too oily. The coleslaw was salty rather than sweet and the beet salad was heavily flavored with cumin. Other salads included okra, tehina, pickled vegetables and salsa.

After this very satisfying starter, we were ready for the main fish course. I chose trout, which had been opened up and grilled to just the right point, was juicy and had a very good flavor. My dining companion had whitebait, deep fried and crispy (main dishes are around NIS 100).

On the side were roast potatoes and a salad of julienned carrots, cucumber and kohlrabi with a good piquant dressing.

We shared a bottle of 2017 Gamla Chardonnay, a crystal clear and pungent white, served very cold, as it should be (NIS 130 a bottle, NIS 35 a glass).

All the time we sat and enjoyed our meal, there was a quiet background murmur of music and other voices, but we found it created a pleasant buzz and did not disturb us in any way.

Having eaten a rather large amount, even for us, we decided to share a dessert and tucked in to a scrumptious hot fudge number which was somewhere between chocolate and mousse, garnished with toasted coconut. The vanilla ice cream that came with it was good and not too sweet.

We ended this memorable meal with two excellent cappuccinos and look forward to returning once the world returns to normal. It’s only a matter of time.
Derby Bar 
Yigal Allon St. 96, Tel Aviv
Phone: 03-561-4545
Sun-Thur: 12 noon-11 p.m.
Closed Fridays. Saturdays from one hour after Shabbat.
 
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.